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lifecycle carbon emissions: why they’re key to tracking performance

2 min | february 20, 2024

Understanding lifecycle carbon emissions can help consumers, policymakers and companies make informed decisions.

When a person evaluates the nutritional content in a salad, they count the calories of each ingredient added to the dish—not just the lettuce.

Lifecycle carbon accounting is a bit like that. It counts the carbon emissions related to a good or product. By doing so, it can enable better decision making to advance a lower carbon future.

In its sixth Climate Change Resilience Report, Chevron makes the case for why the lifecycle approach to tracking carbon emissions should be widely embraced.

why lifecycle emissions?

A lifecycle approach quantifies the carbon intensity linked to a good or service across its lifespan. This ranges from production and manufacturing to end use and disposal.

With this information, buyers can compare and better assess the carbon performance of different suppliers.

The graphic above illustrates the value chain and lifecycle carbon emissions for jet fuel produced by Chevron using Chevron’s oil and refining carbon intensities. The industry average carbon intensity for oil production is 46 kg COe/boe and for manufacturing is 33 kg COe/boe.

why it matters

A lifecycle approach to carbon accounting can provide like-for-like information to help us know if we are choosing lower carbon alternatives.

“We want to be able to move from we think to we know when making lower carbon decisions,” said Julie Mulkerin Ortiz, general manager of decarbonization strategy.

Reporting carbon emissions on a lifecycle basis can be beneficial by:

  • Identifying areas of improvement that otherwise might have been missed.
  • Helping companies compare the impact of various materials and practices.
  • Incentivizing organizations to make changes to how their products are produced, transported, used or disposed of.

making progress

Chevron aims to reduce its own lifecycle carbon intensity by:

  • Executing greenhouse gas reduction projects on existing facilities.
  • Increasing the use of renewables in some of its products.
  • Making technological advances in areas like hydrogen, renewable fuels and carbon capture, utilization, and storage.
“To go on a lower carbon diet we need know how much carbon is in what we consume. Using a lifecycle approach to carbon accounting will help provide this information to enable decision making for a lower carbon future.”

julie mulkerin ortiz
general manager
decarbonization strategy

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